swinburne eases semester 1 impact on studies: students can include or exclude grades from final GPA

Author: Tina Tsironis

Photo courtesy of the Swinburne Student Union.

Students at Swinburne may request to exclude individual Semester 1 results from their overall GPAs, the Swinburne Student Union has announced. 

While the university has yet to officially communicate the new policy to students, Swinburne Student Union President Param Mahal today told the SWINE that students can request to exclude final marks for individual units after receiving their Semester 1 results. Mahal said that after weeks of lobbying by the SSU during an “extremely difficult semester”, the change will ensure that students “are not disadvantaged when competing with students from other universities for jobs or graduate scholarships.”

“The impact of this year may very well shape students’ career and life prospects,” Mahal said. “The SSU have a duty to protect the time and energy they are investing at Swinburne and this change does just that.” 

For Science and Secondary Education student Braden Grady, the SSU’s announcement comes as a welcome relief. 

“The opt-in/opt-out GPA policy has provided me with the opportunity to decide the impact that the coronavirus has on my education,” Grady said.

“As a science student, I have had no choice but to sacrifice my labs to protect the safety of the public, which is entirely understandable. However, not having a high level of interaction has affected my understanding of very complex concepts which would have been more easily grasped in person.”  

While Grady’s learning has been impacted due to COVID-19, he said that ironically, this semester has been his highest performing semester yet.

“I suspect this is due to the reduced travel time – 1.5 hours on a good day – and reduced social interaction, so this does not affect me directly,” Grady said. “However, I understand that the lack of contact has negatively affected many students and so I see the gold in this opportunity.”

Journalism student Alex Docherty sees the announcement differently. 

“If you ask me, I don’t feel it changes much,” Docherty said. “It can certainly give you some leeway and I’ve certainly relaxed my studies a bit over the past couple of weeks. But I still feel like I want the best grade possible.” 

But for Maisie Stokes, a first-year Bachelor of Nursing student, the policy allows her to regain a sense of control amid a period of instability. 

“I have been having a rough time with online learning at Swinburne, as I’m more of a hands-on learner, so this period of study has been my biggest academic challenge yet,” Stokes said.

“I am also prone to getting overwhelmed and having breakdowns so I think Swinburne creating this new policy is fantastic, especially for those of us struggling with mental health and academia. This new policy makes me feel more positive and in control of my learning, and I think it would be amazing if Swinburne kept this in place after things go back to normal. I know it would greatly impact people’s choices and how they study for the better.”


Author: Rutvij Bidkar

Image by: Toa Heftiba


You don’t need the world,

when someone means the world.


Grappled by fear

in times tough and dark,

someone makes it easy

like a walk in the park.


Attacked by the bullets

and devoid of armor,

someone makes feel you safe

like a ship in the harbor.


Benumbed by the chaos,

by the confusion and clutter.

Someone brings the peace

by pulling down the shutter.


Suffocated by the gloom

fighting the odd and unfair,

someone lets you out

to breathe in the fresh air.


Burnt by words

which towards hurt steer,

someone soothes the soul

and brings back the cheer.


You don’t need the world,

when someone means the world.

7 ways you can save money on food, without skimping on taste

Author: Swinburne Student Union

Image courtesy of the Swinburne Student Union.

The SSU have recently set up the Free Feeds Program to help students who are facing food insecurity due to COVID-19. But whether this is a problem for you or not, food and alcohol expenditure forms one of the biggest dents in the average budget – second only to rent. 

Looking at ways to save a bit of money can only be a good thing, and we would love to help with the following suggestions! 

  1. Buy your fruit & vegetables at local fruit stores rather than supermarkets.

Local fruit shops and greengrocers are often up to four times cheaper than supermarket produce, especially when you’re shopping in season. These stores are also more likely to give you a deal on food that is slightly past its prime. Plus, there’s the added bonus of feeling good about supporting local business!

2. Buy frozen.

If you don’t have a local greengrocer close by, consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables. They often come at a largely reduced price, particularly when buying out of season, and last for longer. 

3. Use food waste apps like Bring Me Home

Bring Me Home is an app that lets you buy and pick up discounted surplus food from nearby cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and groceries/ supermarkets. Discounts are often 50 – 70% off. 

4. Search for codes & coupons. 

Before purchasing something online, make sure you look around for some discount codes and coupons. Here are a few codes to get your started: 

UberEats: $10 off your first order with Uber Eats with the code: LHACKERQ22

Woolworths: $10 off your first pickup order at Woolworths with the code: PICKUP10

and Hellofresh: Get 40% off your first HelloFresh box with the code: HFHACK40.

5. Check out social media accounts run by your local restaurants and cafes. 

Many businesses are offering special discounts and deals due to COVID-19. These won’t always show up in a Google search, so make sure you’re following your local stores on Facebook & Instagram to keep up to date on their latest deals. 

Prime example: The Counter Café near our Hawthorn campus is offering FREE small coffees to people negatively affected by COVID-19. 

6. Use restaurant deal apps like EatClub.

EatClub encourages restaurants to offer deals to customers for dining at slower ‘off-peak’ times, day and night. You can even use code ‘SWINBURNE’ to get a further 5% off. 

7. Shop the sales with apps like Wiselist

Wiselist helps you save time and money by tracking supermarket specials and comparing prices. The app also helps you create, and stick, to a food budget, with your very own shopping list, complete with price limits. 

unleashing your inner ‘quaran-queen’

Author: Millie Spencer

Image by Taylor Miller.

Harsher new social distancing laws throughout Australia means the extrovert in me has copped a blow. 

It’s easier to list the negatives this virus has caused: no Uni, no Haddon’s coffees, no swims at the gym pool, no cheap Wednesday Lido tickets, no SSU sausage sizzles or TikTok thriving because The Hawka and Hammer & Swine are shut – so where else would people get their groove on? 

But the world isn’t over, so what if we tried to find the positives in COVID-19 and became totally fabulous at quarantining, by unleashing what Johnathan Van Ness would call our inner ‘QuaranQueens’?

I caught up with Swinburne student and lifestyle/fashion Blogger Belle, who runs the blog Daisy Chain Daydreams, for some advice on how we can stay fabulous during this tricky time. 

Believe it or not, we can all be QuaranQweens with a little bit of practice!

Dress for Success

One thing I’ve missed has been the opportunity to get up each day and put on a killer outfit. So, I asked Belle how we can feel fabulous whilst working and studying from home.  Have a read of her thoughts!

Get Dressed.

I’ve always enjoyed the art of dressing up. Getting dressed each morning before starting uni or work is fun – it also makes me feel ready to face the day ahead, and gets me out of my chill mode. When I’m wearing my dressing gown and slippers it’s more likely to put me in the mood to procrastinate and watch Netflix instead of working my way through my to-do list.

Wear a nice outfit. 

Your outfit doesn’t have to be overly dressy or uncomfortable either. A soft warm jumper with jeans and your favourite sneakers, a fun shirt or blouse with culottes and boots, a patterned skirt or pants with a turtleneck and cute glasses or a fresh hoodie with black jeans and your comfy shoes. Uggs are more than okay when WFH! 


I also find accessorising my outfits fun too – maybe add a cute pearl hair clip, funky earrings, colourful lip-gloss, eyeshadow or add a silky hair scarf to your ponytail. I know these are only little things, but they brighten my mood.

Put on some makeup – if you like! 

You might also find it a fun self-care activity to pop on some of your favourite ‘feel good’ makeup essentials a couple of times a week. I find a wash of subtle shimmery eyeshadow on my eyelids, a touch of blush on the apples of my cheeks and lip gloss brighten my mood first thing in the morning.

Stay Entertained

With all the fam home, I’ve had to ditch singing ‘Party in the USA’ at the top of my lungs in the shower. So, what else can we do to keep ourselves entertained?

Engage with family.

Open up your games cupboard and rediscover your inner child – play some board games with siblings and family. I’m particularly enjoying good old-fashioned marbles and battleships at the moment! 

Create a mood board.

Find some creative inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram and create a cute mood board of activities and your favourite emotions and feelings, and then search for activities that will help you achieve this mindset 🙂 

Find a new hobby.

Start something you’ve been dreaming about starting, but never feel like you never had the time for – until now! Experiment with watercolour painting, drawing, or learning some simple phrases in a language you find interesting – this is easily done through free learning tools like DuoLingo. Other creative ideas include teaching yourself a new instrument through YouTube tutorials, or starting an uplifting podcast with a friend using Zoom or Skype. 


Banana bread quarantine memes aside, baking is a soothing self-care activity you might enjoy whilst spending this extra time at home. I find baking in the afternoons whilst listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops outside after a morning of studying rather therapeutic. If you’re looking for some simple but delicious recipe ideas, I personally love muffins, zucchini slice and banana bread, but you can also filter your search through Pinterest, where a world of recipe ideas awaits!


No quarantine list is complete without it! Now’s the perfect time to find a new TV series to watch in the evenings. Stock up on popcorn and tea, and you’re sorted.


Who doesn’t admire the biggest self-care Queen of all, Jonathan Van Ness – especially when he absolutely masters morning yoga with his cat? As such, I asked Belle how we can all practice self-care in our own, yet equally beneficial ways. 

Do a digital detox.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the news and always being ‘on,’ a digital detox might be what you’re looking for. Whether it’s an afternoon, a day or a weekend offline, you’ll feel refreshed and have a clearer mind afterwards. You might even find that you’re not in a hurry to check your phone by the end of it either.


Mediation is a wonderful way to switch off from the world for a short while and simply ‘be’. It’s about honouring your emotions and giving yourself some time to be present in the moment and unwind. I recently started using a wellbeing app called Clementine which has a lovely library of meditations on a range of topics including relaxation, confidence, sleep, mantras and body positivity. There are varying time frames too – some require five minutes of your time, whilst others are between ten to twenty minutes. 

Work Out. 

Working out at homeis a great way to destress and improve your mood. Working up a bit of a sweat and your heart rate releases endorphins that make us feel good. If you’re not usually one to workout (me!) or don’t really enjoy exercise, there are lots of short and fun routines available online for free you might enjoy. Some places to start browsing include YouTube, IGTV, Insta Stories and free apps. Brands like MUJI are posting yoga ‘flow’ soothing stretch activities to help loosen up any tension in places like your shoulders. These take less than five minutes and require no equipment, but feel so good afterwards. 


Having a bath is perhaps the most stereotyped activity associated with self-care, but it’s still a fun activity and can help soothe your muscles and put your mind at ease. If bubble baths are your jam, The Body Shop has a beautiful range, and if you’re after a delightful (and fun!) bath bomb, LUSH have you sorted – some of my faves include Twillight and Rose Jam. Bath salts are another lovely option, and ideal for soothing your muscles after a home workout. Some natural brands are Salt By Hendrix, Herbivore Botanicals and there’s also cute giant tea-bag-style bath salts you can find online!  

Remember that we’re all in this together.

Whatever emotions you’re feeling are valid and okay. Everyone is learning to adapt and cope with this unprecedented new ‘normal.’ It’s totally okay if you don’t try one of these new hobbies and spend this time relaxing in your own way. It’s important to relax even if you feel like you should be doing something. This timeout will nourish your soul and ensure you feel refreshed to start your next task when you’re ready.

Hopefully you’re now equipped with some tools to get going on your QuaranQween adventure, and are ready to slay #socialisolation. If you’re looking for some more wholesome content feel free to follow Belle’s blog on Instagram @daisy_chain_daydreams. 

isolation bucket list

Author: Grace Ashford

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

Are you bored at home, with nothing left to do? Already learnt all the TikTok dances you could muster, annoyed every family member you live with and now, are simply moping around the house wondering what’s next? 

I’m going to go right ahead and say what I will one day say to my children: ‘You think you know what boredom is?’ Honestly, boredom is the greatest gift 2020 has blessed us with. What a way to push you out of your usual zone and force you to try something you would never otherwise think of attempting. 

If you haven’t checked off every single item on this Isolation Bucket/To Do List, I don’t want to hear you so much as utter the word boredom. 

So, go on, try some (or all!) of the following. I dare you and support you in equal measure.

  •  Adopt a pet rock and paint a face on it with white-out.
  • Shave your eyebrows off (Cute quarantine cut!). 
  • Learn Les Misérables in its entirety. 
  • Make slime (Google it. Not hard).
  • Learn how to do a handstand.
  • Learn the rap verse in Nicki Minaj’s Bottoms Up.
  • Stare out every window in your house for two minutes each, then give yourself three minutes to write down as much as you can remember.
  • Go back and see how much you got right and how much you missed.
  • Prank calls! (but let everyone you prank know that you’re thinking of them and you want them to have a lovely day and that they should stay safe).
  • Chubby bunny challenge but with Easter eggs. 
  • Do as Giselle did in Enchanted and make an outfit out of your household curtains (parental figures/housemates might get irritable, but just again…just ask them if they even know what boredom is).
  • Make a bug catcher and see if you can score a new pet ant.
  • If it’s raining, go outside and see how long it takes to fill up a whole glass of water straight from the sky.
  • Discover a new way to fold underwear.
  • Listen to the words of Come On Eileen and, without googling the lyrics, try to decipher what is being said.
  • Spend a whole day only communicating in alphabetical order, i.e. ‘ALLO, Baby! Come dance especially frightening. Good heed!’
  • Name each of your toes based on their characteristic traits.
  • Give yourself those really skinny braids that kids would always come home with in primary school after their family trip to Bali.
  • Adopt the personality of Cher in Mamma Mia 2.
  • Adopt the personality of Sue Sylvester from Glee.
  • Send Lorde a Twitter message every day telling her how lovely her eyebrows are until she replies. 
  • Eat a whole bag of desiccated coconut, one shred of coconut at a time.
  • Make a mosaic out of old clothes.
  • Spend an hour trying to come up with reasons why people even like that tiger show on Netflix. 
  • Record a cover of Lana Del Rey’s Video Games in Simlish.
  • Braid your body hair.
  • Shave a little love heart into your body hair.
  • Give yourself a French tip manicure with whiteout (for those Grade 4 vibes). 
  • Floss your teeth.
  • Write a journal entry from the perspective of an escaped criminal in 18th century London.
  • Eat a raw onion in an attempt to see if you can understand Tony Abbott in the slightest.
  • Wax your eyebrows with a piece of tape.
  • Try to drink an entire cup of water using an empty toilet paper roll as a straw.
  • Download movies onto your laptop illegally ‘til your laptop gets a virus. (so it doesn’t feel left out). 
  • Write a song about being bored.

Go on. Get cracking. And share your boredom-busting ideas with us using the hashtag #IsoBucketList. 

9 highly bingeable shows (and a few films) that’ll ease the blow of self-isolation

Author: Grace Ashford

Image courtesy of Netflix

According to Urban dictionary, binge-watching occurs ‘when your life has no meaning, so you watch a f***load of Netflix in a depressingly short amount of time’. 

While your life (hopefully) consists of a little meaning, in today’s current self-isolating climate, now would be a better time than ever to really fine-tune your bingeing skills. 

I’ve put together a line-up of the 9 Most Marathon-Worthy, Ultra Watchable TV shows (and some found on Netflix, and a few movies thrown in for good measure – as deemed by none other than (very qualified) me, your friendly Hammer & Swine bartender*.

Our rating scale is as follows:

Averagely Bingeable: I’ve got a cramp because I haven’t moved from the couch for multiple hours.

Quite Adequately Bingeable: ‘Are you still watching?’ popped up 3 times

Supremely Bingeable: How long has it been since I showered? I can’t even remember.

*We also conducted some very sound research via an Instagram poll.

The Good Place

Y’all may love Kristen Bell more than I do, but that doesn’t mean this show doesn’t have some highly bingeable qualities. With an intriguing plot, suspenseful cliffhangers, and Ted Danson of course, there’s not much more you could wish for in a show. Except for less of Kristen Bell. 

I never said this list wouldn’t be extremely subjective and heavily biased.

Bingeability Rating: Got a cramp because I haven’t moved from the couch for multiple hours.


Y’all voted on this one, and I gotta say past me from 6 months ago stands by you. 

This show is a banger. 

It touches on a range of sensitive issues but with plenty of humour, taste and Bridgette Lundy-Paine. Another A+ for the amazing cliffhangers alone. Very bingeable.

Bingeability Rating: Are you still watching?’ Came up 3 times.

Please Like Me 

For those of you who don’t like Josh Thomas’ comedy, avert your eyes. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy this Australian-made drama (support your Aussie film & TV scene!).

This show made me cry in Year 10 and I still haven’t forgotten what a decent watch it is. 

Easily demolish-able in a few days. 

Plus, my partner’s cousin’s boyfriends’ Mum plays Rose. Not spon – promise. 

Bingeability Rating: How long has it been since you showered? 

Twilight series

If I didn’t include these films, I’d probably get hunted down and cut by all the diehard Twilightfans out there…so, you’re welcome. 

How fitting is it to have your ice-olation chock-full of icy stares from Rob Patterson, and frozen facial expressions from our beloved Kristen Stewart. 

Taking into account the fact that there are FIVE (5!) of these very intense teen-fantasy-supernatural-vampire-dramas, you’re locked in for at least a days’ worth of bingeing. 

Bingeability Rating: ’Are you still watching?’ Came up 3 times.

Feel Good

I discovered Feel Good at 11:20am on Monday the 23rd March. By 6:50pm that same day, I had completed the entirety of the first and only season of this show. The only reason it took so long was because I was interchanging every episode with one episode of Shameless – to make it last longer.

Mae Martin gives an excellent portrayal of… herself in this cute lil’ quirky drama. What really fed me throughout the show was my distaste for Mae’s girlfriend, George. You know what they say. A little hate makes the heart grow stronger. 

Anyway, I really liked this show. 10/10 for Lisa Kudrow’s very Lisa Kudrow-esque character. 

Bingeability Rating: Are you still watching?’ Came up 3 times.

Shameless (US)

Nine glorious seasons of the Gallagher family’s poverty-stricken, substance-abusing, drama-causing shenanigans. It’s way too easy to get into this show, with loveable Fiona and all the Gallagher kids. Also, I’m not afraid to say it: in season one Kevin is really hot. If you agree please let me know so I can win an argument with my girlfriend.

Bingeability Rating: How long has it been since you showered? 

Kath & Kim

Two words : Cultural Classic. Kath & Kim is a national staple, comparable in value to a jar of Vegemite in an Australian cupboard. Who could get sick of Kath and Kel going for a morning power walk, or Sharon’s pash rash, or Kim’s incessant self-love? Whatever you like about Kath & Kim, you have to agree that it’s nice, its different. It’s unusual. 

Bingeability Rating: Are you still watching?’ Came up 3 times.

Sex Education

*Chef’s kiss* ah. Some wholesome coming-of-age content and proper myth-busting fax, F-A-X. When you’re not admiring Gillian Anderson’s true mature beauty, you can learn yourself a thing or two about biology, love and relationships in preparation for the post-quarantine utopia we’ll experience once this all blows over. 

Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to revisit where the episode where our King Eric first established himself as the Daddy of Coronavirus, with his famous words ‘Wash your hands, you detty pig.’ 

Bingeability Rating: How long has it been since you showered? 


Well, well well. It appears ye old fiend of a childhood fling reappears from the dirt once more to remind you of its iconic elitism. 

Timeless, ingenious, reliable. 

You know what will hurt you, today? Coronavirus (and Mr Schu rapping Kanye songs). You know what will never hurt you? The nostalgia of Rachel, Finn, Quinn, Puck, Santana, Britney, Kurt, Blaine & co singing their way through your puberty fever dreams. 

Plus, how versatile is Glee? Need to release some energy? Mirror each dance number as they occur on screen. Want to develop your hairdressing skills? Grab that hairspray and make your high pony as slick as Santana’s. Forgotten how to properly wash your hands among this COVID-19 hygiene crisis? Take a leaf out of neurotic Emma Pillsbury’s OCD book.

Netflix, thankfully, has pulled through by ensuring all 6 seasons are fully ready for your viewing needs, so take advantage now. 

Bingeability Rating: How long has it been since you showered? 

HONOURABLE MENTION:TheHarry Potter series – duh

Every Potterhead has spent their lifetime wishing they existed in a world full of spells, hexes and butterbeer instead of this bleak muggle world. Today, escaping the reality of a worldwide pandemic has never been so easy, thanks to one JK Rowling.

Though Harry Potter is such a staple, the series has unfortunately been removed off Australian Netflix, which sucks big time. 

But, if you can, crack out your DVD box set for possibly the hundredth time and dedicate the next 19 hours and 39 minutes to good old Harry and his friends. 

Google it, thats how long they all take to watch.

Bingeability Rating: How long has it been since you showered?